Monday, August 13, 2012

Living a Literature-Based Life

      We knew when we started this blog, that the post below, orginally posted at Our Hearts' Haven in 2007, would eventually make its way over to TUAR.  Literature is one of the many facets of this blog's personality.  It just makes sense to re-visit.  At the time it was written, I had only recently graduated one of my kids from our homeschool.  Since that time, two more have been graduated and another is now a senior. Oh, my!
    I am going to re-read it before posting, and if I add anything new, I shall put it in this color.  :)
Here it is........

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Literature-Based Life

Earlier this week, I was pondering about a post of our upcoming Christmas Literature Evening, and I realized:


I guess I always kind of knew that, but it just really struck me this morning.

Our homeschooling is literature-based: historically, scientifically, language arts, religion and sometimes math. This means we hardly ever use a textbook. We learn through our literature, or from primary sources.

All of our animals always have literature-based names: Strider, Sebastian & Viola, Ivanhoe, Holly & Ivy, Rum Tum Tugger, Jennyanydot, Mr. Mistoffelees & Skimbleshanks, Huckleberry & Tom Sawyer, Darcy & Bingley, Mr. Wickham, Donegal...there are probably more :)  of course!

Can you figure out where all of the names come from? Someof them are pretty easy.

The kids drama fun is almost always based on literature. For the moment, they are focusing on "Little Women." We all love live theater, and are very partial to those based on literature: Anne of Green Gables, Secret Garden, Jane Eyre, The Scarlet Pimpernel....

Which brings us to our music, again often coming from literature: from the musicals of Les Miserables, Jane Eyre & Little Women, to the music of movies based on literature: Sense & Sensibility, Emma, Pride & Prejudice.

Which brings us to our movies..............almost all of the movies we view, were fine literature first.......and sometimes, about literature themselves such as 84 Charing Cross Road starring Anthony Hopkins. (I am going to watch this movie again soon.....since I just read the book.......) Another phenomenon in this house: we often watch a movie, and run to the library to get the book. See above comment in red.  ;)

Some of our favorite movies, and ones we have taken the time to purchase, are about the authors themselves:  Becoming Jane and Miss Potter stand out.

Birthday parties have quite frequently been literature-based, as well as many of our tea parties. Anne made a birthday cake once, shaped like an open book, with gummy bookworms crawling out of it. Her guests came dressed as favorite characters in literature.  That party also happened to be the second day we met Willa in person......and the day I gave birth to my youngest.  What a day! 

And now Anne, as a college-educated adult, teaches her own classes in writing and poetry.....bringing authors to life:  She provided an amazing A.A. Milne tea for her students and their parents.  Willa and I are so proud of her  :)  She inherited that kind of thing from her upbrining.....I have done the same with the same author as well as with Beatrix Potter.......blackberry scones, anyone?

Sewing is also starting to take on some literature in this house: one of the girls is beginning to sew a "Little Women" dress.............and the others are not far behind.

All four of our girls have since sewn Jane Austen dresses.  I do believe that we need to create a post just for their photo shoot. I must get to that soon! Lovely!

Our car rides used to be filled with literature on tape.....but now that the kids are is spent discussing literature.  :)

Our home decor supports the storage of literature :)

About games: I worked very hard.......searching Ebay and buying from the UK, a couple of special, high-quality literature-based games: Winnie-the-Pooh to be specific, like the Peter Rabbit's Blackberry Game, by the same company, but not sold in the US. We have Lord Of the Rings Monopoly (the kids ignore the original Monopoly now :)) we have Lord of the Rings RISK, too? I wonder.....but would not be surprised.

When we take trips, we often make literature stops, as seen by our most recent Star-Spangled Adventure: homes of Laura Ingalls Wilder (four of them, to be exact), Louisa May Alcott (two of her homes), Margaret Sydney (Five Little Peppers), Henry David Thoreau (plus we walked all the way around Walden Pond)......and more. And, a trip to Eureka, CA, to visit their great-grandmother, is not complete without stopping at our favorite used bookstore in Old Town (Booklegger). We save up our money for just this visit!

Our souvenirs are just about always a book. (Stragnely written sentence....but I find it almost endearing and cannot make myself change it.....) Not a tourist book, but actual pieces of literature. Maybe a primary resource. I bought at least thirty books on our big cross-country trip. The kids bought mostly books, too. Definitely adds to our home decor. :)

We go to Yellowstone and I come home and order every book, especially primary resources, from the library. In fact, we may be the most abuser, I mean user, of our dear library, where our librarians are our friends. Whenever we study a topic, I scour the online catalogs of our libraries, and order, order, order.........

All through their growing up, the kids have imagined (and still do!) they are part of literary worlds. Lord of the Rings, King Arthur, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women...........and so on, ad naseum. :)

I have a backyard graveyard for trebuchets and catapults from their well as many fox holes.....

Any shopping, especially, thrift store shopping, requires going through every book, looking for a treasure. My home is now full of these treasures. It does leave you with dirty hands, though. :) Matthew has become addicted to browsing the on-going library sale, truly.

Our family traditions are often literature-based. We just finished celebrating Advent, and my youngest had 24 books to unwrap, one each morning of December, leading up to the birth of the Christ Child. All are Christmas literature, of some sort. And, of course, there were three more new Christmas book finds under the tree!

My children have SO many family memories, book-based. I wonder if they will laugh at the memory of me on the treadmill, reading aloud to them. I doubt it. I think they will think only of the gift of literature they received: Pyle's Knights of the Round Table, Little House books (prequels and sequels), The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Around the World in Eighty Days.....and the list goes on and on....

And, then there is the feet long as they kept tickling.....the longer mama would read to them. Anne and Matthew discovered this at young ages, and tickled my feet through the Chronicles of Narnia and all eight of the Anne of Green Gables books. Whenever I got near the end of the chapter, Anne would whisper: "Matthew, keep tickling and she will keep reading" I always pretended I did not hear. :) I enjoyed the tickling, but I have to admit, I was not ready to close the book yet........I wanted to know what was going to happen next, too.......even though I had already read through the stories several times.

I gave a baby shower for my friend Shawna a couple of years ago. What do you do for a mom, who is having her third child, who has everything she needs....especially one who is a new homeschooler? Why, you throw her a literature baby shower of course! When I sent out the invite, I sent a list of all of the books in the FIVE IN A ROW curricula. I asked the guests to bring a book off of this list or one of their favorites from childhood. It was so much fun.

And speaking of gifts, what do you think is the most common gift received from me??? Yep, you guessed it........a book, of course. For a baby gift, I like to give a special board book. One of my favorites is So Many Bunnies Board Book: A Bedtime ABC and Counting Book. I like it so much, I got it for one of my friends, twice! :) Oops!

Birthday presents for most kids whose parties we attend:  Books, of course!  The Little House is a favored choice as are any of the books from this poetry series: Poetry For Young People

I have taught the kids to use literature as a way to meet people. :) I tell them if the introductions do not take off naturally, to ask the person what their favorite books are. This usually works quickly, and also lets us know pretty quickly if someone is a kindred spirit, too. :) I do the same thing to draw out shy youngsters, or even adults. Almost always works...except when they say: I hate books. :( Gladly that does not happen too often!  It kind of stalls a conversation!

I asked Matthew, 17, if he felt we lived a literature-based life. He said, "I guess so." I asked him, "How?" He says, "whatever I am reading at the time, affects my thoughts and real-life experiences."

I asked Anne, 19, the same question. She said, "No, we live a faith-based life, literature-saturated." I must admit she is right. Good for her to bring me back down to God. :) But, it seems that a faith-based life, is going to be one spent in looking for the beauty in all things...from the places we go, to the things we see, to the books we read.

And, oh, about that iPhone........

I got my first smart phone one year ago this month.....and from the get-go, I have been devouring books on it.....both free ebooks and free audiobooks.  I have to work hard not to be annoyed when someone (one of the offspring) comes upon me while I am listening.  Hanging up the laundry, weeding in the gard, driving all over much better to do those tasks while listening to PG Wodehouse or Thomas Hardy!  And those few minutes before I fall asleep:  a bit of Oscar Wilde.....or perhaps Dracula or some George Eliot.  I love how this phone is helping me to read more of the classics and to keep track of the books I read as well.......I can continue to gush about how literary my iPhone is for me....but I have already started another post on that......  ;)

So, what do you all think? Am I bibliophile....or what? :) Are you?

I am including the comments from that blog post as well.....just for memory's sake.


LLMom said...
Confessed bibliophile here! Are family is very much the same! Having a book shower is a great idea.
Woman of Faith said...
Man...I wish I were. I can't get Freddie interested yet, but I would love for my kids to get immersed in books. I love to read, but honestly DON'T, because I'm always focused on other things. I love books, though. Now I know who to ask for suggestions. Hee hee.
Leonie said...
Definitely can relate - and love this whole post. Happy New year!
SuzanneG said...
Great post, Chari!!! Wonderful examples of how this permeates every aspect of your lives.
Brenda said...
What a great post! Would love to know how it has all worked out with the older kids. How did you deal with those pesky college requirements & entrance exams? Thx!


  1. I love being able to download books instantly to my iPad, Chari. It's not quite the same as a paper book but it's so great to have a whole diverse library on one little tablet. Isn't modern technology wonderful?

    I can really relate to this post - so inspiring!!

    God bless, Chari:-)

  2. Chari,

    What a fabulous post! I can relate to everything you say. We have named so many pets after literary characters as well. I remember the girls playing long and involved games of Little House on the Prairie. I buy loads of books for myself and as presents...

    She said, "No, we live a faith-based life, literature-saturated." That is such a great sentence. I must remember it.

    God bless!

  3. Chari
    I could have written much of this post, this is MY life! Or it was, now time for honest convo;) I'll share with you a conversation from yesterday with a dear friend who is also in the same situation as me (and you & Willa) strong in literature with our earlier children, big age spread of large family.
    1)Do you think your younger ones receive as rich a literature based education as your older children did?
    me: No!
    2) Do you read as much to you younger ones as you did to your older ones?
    me: No!
    3) Does this bother you?
    me: Yes!

    So honest convo here:(:(

    1. I know,Erin! I have to getting sleep. I am up super late, but we do need to take the conversation forward. I am trying to work on just this issue, in fact. Trying to find the enthusiasm......

      Till later! God bless!

    2. mm I can feel a blog post comin' on;) good news is I just managed 4 books with my littles today:) (first time in weeks!:()

    3. Phooey! Never got back here, Erin!

      But.....I am so proud of you for moving yourself forward so well the last school term. Good luck when you start up again!


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